Tag Archives: Yale Bulldogs

Noontime Hoops Notebook: Whitney’s March Madness Primer

Noontime Hoops Notebook

By Bob Whitney | @WhitneyBob 

Well, it’s time to get the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament underway after Sunday’s selection committee announced the top seeds and brackets for the 68 team field.

There were no surprises at the top with Duke receiving the top seed along with Virginia, North Carolina and Gonzaga.

Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans made a very impressive last-second push for consideration but it was too little – too late. Izzo is a master at preparing his team for March and the Spartans enter the tournament playing some of the best basketball in the country.

Realistically, Michigan State is one of seven or eight teams with a shot to claim the 2019 crown in Minneapolis.

Tennessee and Kentucky were in the conversation but their season-long body of work fell a tad short when compared to Duke, Virginia, Carolina and the Zags.

John Beilein’s Michigan Wolverines, who were the runner up to Villanova in 2018, would be the other squad with a legitimate chance at advancing to the championship game.

The tournament gets started this evening in Dayton, Ohio with ‘first four’ action featuring Farleigh Dickinson (20-13) versus Prairie View A&M (22-12) followed by Belmont (26-5) and Temple (23-9).

The other ‘first four’ concludes on Wednesday with NC Central (18-15) versus ND State (18-15) followed by Arizona State (22-10) against St. John’s (21-12).

The Belmont/Temple matchup is perhaps the most interesting of all the ‘first four’ games. Belmont could be this year’s Cinderella team in the tournament. Temple enters with plenty of emotion on its side as coach Fran Dunphy prepares to write the final chapter on what is likely to be a Hall of Fame coaching career.

Here is an early look at some of the key matchups in each region, exciting players to watch, potential Cinderella teams, and much more.

East Region Preview: Duke, with a healthy Zion Williamson, is the odds-on favorite to win the region, however, Michigan State and Virginia Tech (the Hokies outstanding point guard Justin Robinson is expected back for the tournament) just might get in the way of the Blue Devils bid for Coach K’s sixth national title.

If Duke has an Achilles heel it would be outside shooting.

Two first-round games to watch would be Mississippi State/ Liberty and LSU/Yale.

Liberty under coach Richie Mackay (and a former assistant under Tony Bennett at UVA) sport a stingy defense that could pose problems for Mississippi State. Controversy surrounds a very athletic and talented LSU squad with coach Will Wade embroiled in a recruiting scandal.

Ivy League tournament champ Yale is the real deal so this game is on the upset watch list.

If Belmont gets by Temple they could be a team to watch along with Louisville who has surprised most in the ACC under first-year Coach Chris Mack.

Whitney’s Prediction: Duke and Michigan State will meet in the east final.

West Region Preview: Gonzaga is the top seed with Michigan close behind in a region where most teams enter the tournament with more questions than answers.

Florida State has the talent to advance to the regional final, particularly after they raised a few eyebrows by easily defeating Virginia in the ACC tournament semifinals. But the ‘Noles have been inconsistent and will be challenged to raise their level of play, especially shooting from beyond the arc. The Buffalo Bulls, with an experienced senior-laden lineup, could be the surprise team in the region.

A first-round matchup to keep your eye on would be Marquette/Murray State. The contest pits two of the most explosive players in the country in Marquette’s Markus Howard and Murray State’s Ja Morant. Both are capable of going for 40 points on any given night. Morant has been tabbed a mini Zion Williamson so get ready to hold your breath as these two go head-to-head on Thursday in Hartford.

Whitney’s Prediction: Florida State and Michigan will advance to the west final.

South Region Preview: Top-seeded Virginia is front and center as the Hoos seek to erase the stain from last’s first-round flameout to UMBC.

On paper, this region appears to be stacked in Virginia’s favor as most of the contenders play a slower, defensive-oriented style which is right up Virginia’s alley.

Kansas State may pose a mild challenge to the Hoos but the road to the regional final is wide open for Virginia’s redemption tour bus. If you haven’t seen him catch a peek at Virginia’s All American guard Kyle Guy, who can drain three’s with his eyes closed.

Tennessee and Purdue should battle it out for the chance to face Virginia in the final with a possible challenge from Mitch Cronin’s Cincinnati Bearcats.

Whitney’s Prediction: It will be Virginia and Purdue in the south final.

Midwest Region Preview: This region could have the most drama and surprises of all the four regions.

I like Carolina and I also believe that this is one of Roy Williams best coaching jobs in his Hall of Fame career. The Tar Heels have the horsepower to get to Minneapolis provided they continue to defend at a high level and eliminate costly turnovers. Many are looking ahead to a Carolina/Kansas battle of blue blood programs, but the Jayhawks have been playing poorly and may not get past a first-round date against Billy Coen’s Northeastern Huskies.

Auburn is coming off a spectacular run in the SEC tournament. The knock on the Tigers is that they often play with far less energy than their coach exudes on the sidelines.
Kentucky and Houston should compete for the chance to face Carolina in the final.

Wofford and Seton Hall should be an intriguing first round battle. Both teams are capable of beating anyone in the country and the winner could derail Kentucky’ shot in the region.

Whitney’s Prediction: It will be a Carolina and Houston final.


Stay connected with Bob Whitney throughout the NCAA Tournament by following @WhitneyBob on Twitter! 

Harvard, Yale Set To Renew Rivalry At Fenway Park

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Members of Fenway Sports Management pose with both Harvard and Yale Football captains, and Coach Tim Murphy on Tuesday afternoon at Fenway Park. (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Noonan)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)

Harvard University and Yale University are set to renew their historic football rivalry later this fall at historic Fenway Park as the 135th playing of “The Game” is scheduled for Saturday, November 17th.

Both teams meet in the final week of the regular season annually, but this year’s game will mark the first time “The Game” will be played on the same playing surface as the Boston Red Sox.

“This year, it is our distinct privilege to host what is arguably one of the most celebrated rivalries and marry one of college football’s most classic games with one of America’s most classic venues,” said Fenway Sports Management Managing Director Mark Lev.

Harvard is no stranger to Fenway Park – in fact, the baseball team was the first athletic program to compete at the historic ballpark 106 years ago when the Crimson faced the Red Sox on a rainy-snowy day. The game marked the first-ever contest at Fenway Park.

Additionally, Harvard’s George “Iron” Davis, who pitched for the Boston Braves, was the first-ever ballplayer to toss a no-hitter at Fenway Park on September 9, 1914. Six years later, the Crimson baseball team beat the Bulldogs at the park by a score of 6-3, thanks to pitcher Babe Felton, who quarterbacked the Harvard football team earlier in the school year.

Yale currently leads the all-time football series (67-59-8), but has tied the Crimson eight times over the past 134 years, including in 1968 when Harvard rallied to even the score at 29-29. Those eight ties, according to Harvard Athletic Director Bob Scalise, are considered wins around the Cambridge campus.

“We think (this game at Fenway Park) will be a terrific experience for our student-athletes and fans,” said Scalise.

“We hope that this rendition of ‘The Game’ will be an instant classic to add to the rivalry and rich tradition,” he added.

This year’s contest certainly has a special meaning to Harvard coach Tim Murphy, who grew up in Kingston, Massachusetts and idolized Rico Petrocelli, who played shortstop for the Red Sox for 13 seasons.

“It’s such an iconic place whether we come here for Red Sox games or concerts it’s always an amazing experience,” said Murphy. “I think it is going to be a great event for any of the alumni fans or players who were involved (with this rivalry).”

Added Harvard captain Zach Miller, “To be able to (have the game played) here (is) awesome, it’s so amazing for us.”

Miller said he and his team had a chance to watch Brown University and Dartmouth College compete at Fenway Park last season under the lights on a chilly Friday evening in November. Harvard-Yale will most likely be an afternoon game, however, the start time of this year’s game has yet to be announced.

“It was very cool (seeing Brown-Dartmouth) on tv and just knowing we were going to be playing there next year was very cool,” said Miller, who was elected the program’s 145th captain. “Just the opportunity to be at Fenway, this historical park, our team – it’s huge for Harvard football, Yale football and this rivalry. It means a lot to us.”

Similar to Miller, Yale captain Kyle Mullen is also excited about competing this fall at Fenway Park. “I’m really excited for the game,” said Mullen, who hails from New Jersey and roots for the New York Mets, not the Red Sox.

Yale captured last year’s meeting, defeating Harvard, 24-3, in New Haven, Connecticut. Mullen, who plays defensive end for the Bulldogs, recorded a trio of solo stops in the win, including a pair of tackles for a loss of six yards.

The senior captain of the Bulldogs said he was looking forward to beating the Crimson at Harvard Stadium this fall, but said Fenway Park works for him as well.

“I was looking forward to beating Harvard at their home stadium, but I guess I will have to settle for this,” he said with a big smile.

Both Harvard and Yale will begin their respective seasons on Saturday, September 15th with the Crimson hosting San Diego and Bulldogs visiting Holy Cross.

New England Football: Harvard,Yale Set To Meet At Fenway Park In 2018

Washington Nationals v Boston Red Sox

Fenway Park will host next year’s Harvard-Yale Football game. (PHOTO CREDIT: MLB.com).

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Fenway Park will be the site of next year’s Harvard-Yale football game – it was announced this morning via a press release that the two schools would meet  at the home of the Boston Red Sox next November.

2018 will mark the 135th Playing of “The Game” between Harvard and Yale – the two schools first met in 1875 with the Crimson claiming a 4-0 victory.

Next year’s contest will be the first time “The Game” will be played at a location other than Harvard Stadium or the Yale Bowl since 1912.

Yale captured this year’s meeting against the Crimson, thanks to quarterback Kurt Rawlings and halfback Zane Dudek, who both scored one touchdown in a 24-3 victory.

The Bulldogs, who won nine of 10 games this fall, earned their first outright Ivy League crown since securing the title in 1980. Yale’s lone loss of the season came against Dartmouth in October, but the Eli’s managed to rebound from the setback by winning their final six contests.

Fenway Park was the home to a trio of collegiate football contests this fall, including Brown-Dartmouth, which took place earlier this month on Friday, November 10th. The Big Green defeated the Bears, 33-10.

Additionally, the ball park hosted three high school football games this month, including Everett-Masconomet. Boston College High School, Catholic Memorial, Hingham and Scituate also competed at Fenway Park prior to Thanksgiving.

Ivy League Football Notebook: Can Yale Top Harvard In ‘The Game?’

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The Bulldogs of Yale will look to cap their season with a win over Harvard in ‘The Game.’ (PHOTO CREDIT: Yale Athletics | Jack Warhola mage)

By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob) 

Harvard’s shot at a share of the Ivy League title came to a screeching halt last Saturday in a less-than-inspiring 23-6 loss to the Penn Quakers 5-4 (3-3) at Harvard Stadium.

The Crimson 5-4 (4-3) are reduced to the role of spoiler as they head to New Haven on Saturday to face Yale in THE GAME.

The Crimson were never in position to challenge Penn as the Quaker’s Tre Solomon took the first possession of the game all the to the house on a 77-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 and the Quakers never looked back.

The Harvard offense was contained all day by a veteran Penn defensive unit that limited the Crimson to a pair of field goals (24 and 32-yards) by Jake McIntyre.

Yale, with a 35-31 win last week over the Princeton Tigers, has clinched at least a share of the Ivy League title and can claim sole possession of the 2017 title with a win over Harvard on Saturday at the Yale Bowl, the Bulldogs first since 2006.

If the Bulldogs lose to the Crimson, Columbia and Dartmouth can also lay claim to a share of the title.

Yale sophomore quarterback Kurt Rawlings sparked the Bulldogs win over Princeton as he led the Bulldogs back from a 24-7 second quarter deficit. Rawlings was 26-for-34 for 304 yards and two touchdowns.

The Bulldogs freshman phenom running back Zane Dudek rushed 35 times for 180 yards and three touchdowns in the  come-from-behind win over Princeton. Eleven of his runs were for first downs, and he also caught six passes and finished with 212 all-purpose yards.

The Crimson defense will face a mountain of a challenge in defending Rawlings, who is having an MVP-type season and Dudek, who is the front-runner for National Rookie of the Year honors.

Harvard has failed to play consistent football but they have been a very dangerous team coming off a loss in the previous week.

Yale leads the series 66-59-6. The Bulldogs edged the Crimson 21-14 at Harvard Stadium last year.

The Game, in front of a sellout crowd at the Yale Bowl, has a 12:30 p.m. kickoff and it will broadcast live by CNBS Sports. Paul Burmeister and Ross Tucker have the call.

Bob’s Prediction: The Crimson give Yale all they can handle in THE GAME, but it’s the year of the Bulldogs! PREDICTION: Yale 24, Harvard 17

Around the Ancient Eight: Dartmouth 7-2 (4-2) will look to keep their title hopes alive when they host Princeton 5-4 (2-4), while Columbia 7-2 (4-2) plays host to Brown 2-7 (0-6).

A Yale win will be their first title since 2006, and their first outright title since 1980. Columbia has only one Ivy League title, in 1961, and Dartmouth is looking for its League-leading 19th title and first since 2015.

Yale quarterback Rawlings performance against Princeton earned his second Ivy Offensive Player of the Week award of the season (Sept. 18) and fourth career Ivy League weekly honor.

Yale’s Zane Dudek earned his fifth Ivy Rookie of the Week honor of the season, just the third Ivy to accomplish the feat, joining Harvard’s Eion Hu (six, 1994) and Princeton’s Chuck Dibilio (six, 2011).

With its recent win over Columbia, Yale claimed its 900th all-time victory. The Bulldogs are the third team in Division I history to accomplish the feat, joining Michigan and Notre Dame.

Penn superb senior wide receiver Justin Watson continues to climb the Ivy League record books. Watson is in second-place all-time with 3,585 receiving yards. He also ranks third in receptions (273) and fourth in receiving touchdowns (32).

Follow Bob for all the Yale football game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob

(Compiled from various Ivy League media outlets)

Ivy League Football Notebook: Harvard Keeps Title Hopes Alive, Set To Face Columbia

496202By Bob Whitney (@WhitneyBob) 

Harvard kept their 2017 Ivy League title hopes alive with a come-from-behind 25-22 win over Dartmouth at Harvard Stadium last Saturday.

The Crimson’s win set up an important showdown  in New York on Saturday against Coach Al Bagnoli’s Columbia Lions 6-1 (3-1), who fell from the ranks of the unbeaten at the hands of Yale, 23-6.

Yale, Columbia and Cornell rest at the top of the Ivy standings with 3-1 records while the Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth remain in hot pursuit with two losses.

The Crimson rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat the Big Green 5-2 (2-2) behind the play of freshman quarterback Jake Smith. Smith was 18-for-35 for 125 yards and three touchdowns. Smith also rushed for 64 yards.

Smith’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Shampklin with 7:21 left in regulation sealed the win.

Meanwhile Bagnoli’s surprising Lions suffered their first loss of the season, courtesy of a dominating performance by a Yale defense.

Yale’s defense was the story as they recorded four sacks and two interceptions in limiting the Lions to just 206 yards of total offense and just one touchdown (1-yard run by quarterback Anders Hill).

Saturday’s contest will be the 76th meeting between the Crimson and Lions. Harvard holds a 60-14-1 lead in the series. The Crimson has won the last 13 games between the two schools. The kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Bob’s Prediction: The Crimson will make it 14 in a row over the Lions and stay alive in the title chase. All signs point to THE GAME! PREDICTION: Harvard, 21, Columbia 17

Next week: Penn invades Harvard Stadium, Saturday, November 11 for a 12 p.m. kickoff (NESN).

Around the Ancient Eight: It’s crunch time in the Ivy League this weekend with three huge contests, in addition to the Harvard/Columbia clash. Yale 6-1 (3-1) hosts Brown 2-5 (0-4), Princeton 5-2 (2-2) is at Penn 3-4 (1-3) while Dartmouth 5-2 (2-2) travels to Ithaca to face Cornell 3-4 (3-1). There are six teams in the hunt for the title with just three weeks remaining in the schedule.

Harvard’s all-purpose back, Justice Shelton-Mosley, leads the nation in punt returns for touchdowns (two) and punt return average (23.1).

Yale’s freshman running back, Zane Dudek, is having quite an inaugural season for the Bulldogs. Last week in the Bulldogs huge 23-6 win over previously unbeaten Columbia Dudek rushed a season-best 173-yards. The effort earned the first-year phenom National Rookie of the Week as well as offensive player and co-rookie of the week in the Ivy League.

Dudek, who ranks second among all Football Championship Subdivision ball carriers (8.4 yards per attempt), was placed on the FCS Jerry Rice Award Watch List. He has been Ivy Rookie of the Week three times while having four games where he rushed for over 100 yards.

Yale’s senior linebacker standout Matthew Oplinger leads the FCS averaging better than one per game and has 9.5 on the year.

Dartmouth’s upcoming matchup with Brown on Friday, November 10, will be held in historic Fenway Park.

Looking way ahead to a game that is looking more and more like it will determine the Ivy League football champion, Yale will host Harvard in THE GAME on Nov. 18.

Follow Bob for all the Yale football game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob

(Compiled from various Ivy League media outlets)

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